The last runs of the day were pharmacy runs, taking meds from pharmacy to patient, either in home or care facility settings. The one I carried marked ASAP went to John Doe (not his real name of course) in an assisted living center. I did my usual by approaching the front desk and asking who I needed to see to sign for meds for John Doe.
Normally I'll be directed down that hall on such a floor to a particular nursing station. Only nurses are allowed to sign for the meds, since many of them are scheduled drugs. I wasn't expecting the reaction I got tonight.
First she gestured a co-worker over and informed him I was delivering meds to John Doe. Both then looked at me. The second co-worker informed me that he had been a patient there, but he was gone. "Gone", it turns out, is the euphemism for "dead." He'd been "gone" for a long time.
I asked him to clarify "long time". I'm thinking he died early in the month, now it's end of month, and somebody just hasn't caught up yet. No so. Not exactly. Long time meant years. John Doe died there years ago.
This so entertained them that they called up to 2nd floor and asked for his old regular nurse. "Hey, we got somebody here with medications for John Doe. They're marked "ASAP". .... OK, I'll send her up." She then started giving me directions to how to get to second floor. I guess the nurse up there wanted to tell me that John Doe had died years ago. I'd gotten the message. I declined the honor of hearing the message yet again from someone who actually knew John Doe. I believed it the first time. I even verified there wasn't a new admit with the same name. Nope.
Well, I still had deliveries to make, and now one of them was going to have to go back to the shipping pharmacy, and they closed at 7:00. I still had drops to make. Not a lot of time. While driving to my next stop, I contacted dispatch, told them the story, and let them contact the pharmacy to try to figure out why a ghost might needs his meds ASAP. (I think it's just a little late.)
Or more likely, why a second John Doe comes up on their computer with the first John Doe's old address. And who's not getting his meds tonight even though they're urgent.